“I don’t do fashion, I do art” — Serge Ibaka

What shall we call it? The Arena walk? The Pre-game runway? There is no red carpet but the fashion male athletes are showing off as they walk confidently through the underground tunnels or back entrances of arenas is worthy of a magazine spread.

And why wouldn’t they have the best clothes? They are making the money to pay for it. They are in the public eye. Sport is about the entertainment of it all. Some athletes enjoy it more than others. The Raptor’s Serge Ibaka might just be the best dressed in the NBA. He even put on a stylish skirt with one of his looks. There are arguments to be made for Russell Westbrook, who’s also worn skirts and kilts, and James Harden. Lebron James has been upping his fashion game in recent years along with some younger players.

Recently, Ibaka took his teammate, Fred VanVleet, shopping in a video for his Avec Classe series. The two lamented that while they both enjoyed fashion the rest of the team was not so well-dressed. VanVleet has even started his own fashion brand. Ibaka and VanVleet took shots at each other over who was better dressed causing Ibaka to claim that he does ‘art’ not fashion.

Not all sports fans are supportive. I stumbled across one tweeter who was disparaging NFL players for trying to be fashionable like NBA stars. The tweets were, of course, full of hate and misogyny. This person saw fashion as feminine and feminity as a problem. Fashion is not feminine or masculine, though we separate clothes into those categories. It is neutral until we attribute a cultural standard to it. Anyone who has spent any time at an art museum will know that these cultural standards change over time. Fashion is first and foremost fun.

NFL players might even be better dressed than NBA stars. Odell Beckham Jr. regularly makes the lists of best-dressed athletes as do Cam Newton and Travis Kelce. I for one was a big fan of the Cleveland Brown’s pre-game Instagram pics showing players doing the ‘walk-in’ to the arena. Yes, even the Cleveland Browns had style. No doubt the addition of OBJ to this past year’s roster helped.

It’s refreshing to hear men talk about fashion. To see them wearing skirts, tailored suits, and all manner of gorgeous clothes, to watch them have fun and be creative with it. They can show off their personality beyond the rules of the game and team jerseys. Creativity is central to our humanness. Male athletes are embracing this. They are no longer limited to what they do on the field.

Check out Serge and Freddie shopping